CNN Goes Bananas for Hillary ‘Keeping Her Cool’; Blumenthal Questions Are ‘a Waste’ and ‘Baffling’

Reacting to the first round of questioning in Thursday’s Benghazi hearing, CNN hosts and panelists couldn’t help but trip over themselves in gushing over how Hillary Clinton was “very confidence” in “keeping her cool” while answering “utterly baffling” questions about confidante Sidney Blumenthal that the American people supposedly do not “really care about” and see as “a waste.”

The Lead and State of the Union host Jake Tapper kicked off the analysis by lamenting that the tense moments between committee members and Clinton looks bad and doesn’t set a good example for American children: “I don't know if there are any schoolchildren watching this testimony out there, that it's going to give them a lot of confidence in our American legislative branch.”

With Democratic committee members taking swipes at their Republican colleagues for any and all of their questioning, Tapper and Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer opined that it was a huge benefit to Clinton with Blitzer complimenting the former secretary of state for “keeping her cool” plus “being very confident responding to the questions and it's probably doing some good for her in the process as well.”

Chief political analyst Gloria Borger chimed in a few moments later by continuing the accolades for Clinton by not only praising her performance but even her body language as “perfect”:

I think she did what she needed to do. I think she did a good job. I think her body language to me and we were talking about it at the table here, told it all. You know, at the beginning she kind of centered herself, ready for the incoming and when the — when the committee devolved into, you know, partisan wrangling between the chairman and the ranking member, she just kind of sat there like this, as if, you would sit by saying, ‘honey, is there anything else you can flip the channel to’ because she had this sort of bemused look almost and it was perfect because she just sat back and the wrangling is actually what works for her. 

Doing her part to denounce and dismiss the relationship that Clinton had with Blumenthal, Borger declared on behalf of the American people that “[t]he American public doesn't really care about Sidney Blumenthal, I don't think, and to spend so much time talking about him seems to be me be a waste of their valuable committee time where they should be talking about what happened in Benghazi.”

Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin also was on the panel with his own flowery language for Clinton plus his friend and “former colleague” in Blumenthal. Referring to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s comments in September about the committee, Toobin ruled that Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) failed to disprove McCarthy’s words but instead bring up Blumenthal:

I don't know that I heard anything from Trey Gowdy today that really refuted what McCarthy said. I think it's remarkable when you think he had ten minutes, only ten minutes, to ask questions of the former secretary of state and he chose, out of all the subjects regarding the four people who died here, to ask e-mails from Sidney Blumenthal, a former colleague of mine at The New Yorker. He’s former colleague of Paul's in the White House. 

The liberal CNN panelist received the last word before a commercial break by firing off this shot about how little he thinks Blumenthal matters in finding out what happened before and after the deadly 2012 attack: “You know, someone who is, with all due respect, not a very important person in the United States, that that is someone he chose to ask questions about is just utterly baffling to me.”

The relevant portions of the transcript from CNN’s Wolf on October 22 can be found below.

CNN’s Wolf
October 22, 2015
1:22 p.m. Eastern

JAKE TAPPER: We've gone down this rabbit hole dealing with her friend Sidney Blumenthal that I don't know if there are any schoolchildren watching this testimony out there, that it's going to give them a lot of confidence in our American legislative branch. 

WOLF BLITZER: What’s significant, thought, for Hillary Clinton is she does have these Democrats on the Select Committee who are obviously coming to her defense at every opportunity and challenging the Republicans, had she appeared only with Republicans there, would have been a different game today. It would have been a different round of testimony. She wouldn't have had that kind of protection and there's been some discussion among the Democrats whether to boycott this hearing, the continuing hearings. Clearly, from her perspective, it's good those Democrats are there. 

TAPPER: They're doing her work for her. They are the ones calling the committee partisan. They're the ones attacking the committee, attacking Chairman Gowdy. Gowdy, obviously, feeling very defensive. He's talked a number of times, trying to respond to members of the committee who are assailing the committee as accomplishing nothing. He at one point said to I think it was Congressman Smith from Washington state, a Democrat, Gowdy saying — he made a reference to all the things this committee found that your committee missed, obviously trying to make the case his committee is serious and should not be considered partisan, but I think ultimately, Hillary Clinton benefits greatly from having all those Democrats on the committee because they're doing everything they can to protect her and attack the very committee they sit upon. 

BLITZER: You're absolutely right. She's keeping her cool. She's being very confident responding to the questions and it's probably doing some good for her in the process as well.

(....)

GLORIA BORGER: I think she did what she needed to do. I think she did a good job. I think her body language to me and we were talking about it at the table here, told it all. You know, at the beginning she kind of centered herself, ready for the incoming and when the — when the committee devolved into, you know, partisan wrangling between the chairman and the ranking member, she just kind of sat there like this, as if, you would sit by saying, ‘honey, is there anything else you can flip the channel to’ because she had this sort of bemused look almost and it was perfect because she just sat back and the wrangling is actually what works for her. I would also have to say at the beginning of the hearing, Congressman Roskam asked a very legitimate question, which is I think this policy in Libya was bad. You own the bad Libya policy and he tried to kind make that point. She said it was the President's policy. We were just, you know, we were carrying it out, but then you had a congresswoman, Brooks, no, no, no saying you were derelict in your duties. So they’re trying to have it both ways, either you owned it or you were derelict in it. It seemed to me as if they didn't get together on their plan and then, in terms of spending a lot of time on Sidney Blumenthal, those of us who covered politics for a while know him from Bill Clinton's White House, from the whole Monica Lewinsky stuff. The American public doesn't really care about Sidney Blumenthal, I don't think, and to spend so much time talking about him seems to be me be a waste of their valuable committee time where they should be talking about what happened in Benghazi and I don't think they really got to that much today. 

(....)

JEFFREY TOOBIN: Sure, he does. You know, Michael Kinsley, my mentor in journalism, you know, he had Kinsley’s law about gaffes, which when you unintentionally tell the truth. Kevin McCarthy's statement that this whole committee is designed to bring down Hillary Clinton's poll numbers, that hangs over today's testimony enormously and I don't know that I heard anything from Trey Gowdy today that really refuted what McCarthy said. I think it's remarkable when you think he had ten minutes, only ten minutes, to ask questions of the former secretary of state and he chose, out of all the subjects regarding the four people who died here, to ask e-mails from Sidney Blumenthal, a former colleague of mine at The New Yorker. He’s former colleague of Paul's in the White House. You know, someone who is, with all due respect, not a very important person in the United States, that that is someone he chose to ask questions about is just utterly baffling to me. 

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Congress Foreign Policy Libya Media Bias Debate Double Standards Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals CNN Other CNN Trey Gowdy Jake Tapper Wolf Blitzer Jeffrey Toobin Gloria Borger Hillary Clinton Sidney Blumenthal
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